King wants R17m more

05 September 2012 - 02:09 By THANDO MGAGA
King Goodwill Zwelithini k
King Goodwill Zwelithini k

These are tough times economically but King Goodwill Zwelithini wants another R17-million for palatial extravagance.

The monarch's budget was increased to R59.5-million this year but he now wants an additional R12-million to splash out on a modern house at his Nyokeni palace, and another R5-million to refurbish a farmhouse into a palace for Queen Zola Mafu.

The chief financial officer in the Royal Household Department, Mduduzi Mthembu, told members of the royal household and office of the premier portfolio committee in the provincial legislature yesterday that the funding for the new accommodation would probably be spread over the next three years.

The monarch has asked that the R12-million for his new house be given in tranches: R4-million in the next financial year, R6-million and R2-million in the following financial years.

The money for the queen's abode would be sourced over the next four years, said Mthembu.

Queen Mafu, one of Zwelithini's six queens, is living at KwaKhangelamankengana with Queen Mantombfi Dlamini, the sister of Swaziland's King Mswati III.

Portfolio committee chairman Sipho Gcabashe said the committee would not vote on the matter until the Treasury had tabled its budget.

COPE provincial legislator Lucky Gabela said that the request would form part of the royal household department's budget, which is subject to scrutiny by the Treasury.

Provincial treasury official Sbonelo Mazibuko said that the request had been made "as an advance warning" of the department's intention of requesting the funds.

The royal household department caters for the needs of the king and is attached to the office of the premier.

The department provides administrative support to the king in carrying out his duties.

The monarch was this year asked to cut down on personal luxuries for himself, his six queens and members of the royal household.

The queens are known for their expensive tastes and were criticised by opposition parties in 2008 when they spent R200000 on linen, splurged on designer clothes and went on costly holidays.

According to the royal household department's 2013-2014 draft annual performance plan - which was tabled at yesterday's meeting - the government was not being as supportive as on the past.

The department described this lack of support as a "distortion and also a deviation from custom".

The report states that, in other parts of the world, royals had income-generating duties.

It said that it would investigate income-generating activities to sustain the Zulu monarch's lifestyle.